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1 Peter 5:6-9 Questions (True Grace Study)

  1. As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”
  2. Read 1 Peter 5:6-9
  3. Not only are Christians to be humble with one another (5:5), but they are ultimately to be humble under the “mighty hand of God” (5:6).  The idea of the “mighty hand of God” is an Old Testament idiom that can be used of both God’s judgment and His deliverance.  In context here, it seems that Peter wanted to remind Christians that the circumstances of their lives (good and bad) were overseen by their God.  Does God’s sovereign authority over your life provide encouragement for you?  Why or why not?
  4. In 5:6-7, Peter gives a few reasons why we should trust God with our lives.  What are some of the reasons Peter lists here?
  5. What are some of the things that produce anxiety in your life?  What does it look like to “cast” those anxieties on God?
  6. Being “sober-minded” is similar to being self-controlled or disciplined.  Peter encourages believers to be disciplined and watchful for what reason in 5:8-9?
  7. If you were to summarize Peter’s command to Christians regarding Satan in 5:8-9, what would you say?
  8. Given the context of the entire letter of 1 Peter, why do you think Peter turns to talking  about Satan and his strategies at the end of this letter?
  9. In what way can Christians be “devoured” by Satan?
  10. How can you apply the principles this passage teaches about resisting Satan in your life today?

To access the entire “True Grace” Study click here.

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True Grace (week 9) Sermon Audio/Video

On Sunday, August 2, 2015, I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based out of 1 Peter 5:1-5.  This message was part 9 in the “True Grace” sermon series.  The audio and video of the message are posted below for you to listen to, watch, or share.

 

To listen to the sermon online, use the media player below:

 

To download the sermon to listen to offline, click on the link below:

True Grace #9

 

To watch the sermon, use the Vimeo video below:

The video will be placed here once available.

 

 

To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.

 

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True Grace (week 9) Sermon Discussion Questions

On Sunday, August 2, 2015 I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church that was based on 1 Peter 5:1-5.  This message was part 9 in the “True Grace” series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to this sermon.

 

Questions:

  1. Read 1 Peter 5:1-5
  2. I opened this message by saying that good leadership is especially important when times are tough.  Can you think of any examples from history or from your life where this principle holds true?
  3. In a world where Christians are being persecuted, part of the grace Jesus gives to His church is through humble human leaders.  In what way have you seen humble leaders be a blessing to churches you have been a part of ?
  4. In 5:1-4, we see several things about elders in local churches.  One thing we see is that there is a plurality of elders (i.e. the church is not led simply by one person).  What is the value of a multiplicity of leaders who are “among” the people they lead?
  5. The main job of an elder is to shepherd (or Pastor) through providing oversight.  What do you think this practically means?
  6. Peter also gives a set of admonishments of what leaders are to do and not do.  Specifically, he warns Elders from being reluctant, greedy, lazy, or domineering.  Any leadership in a church that looks this way is NOT what Jesus prescribed.  If you are in leadership in any ministry, how can you apply these verses to your life today?
  7. Jesus is also shown as the rewarder of the Elders of the church . . . ultimately at His second coming.  John Calvin rightly said, “To prevent the faithful servant of Christ from being cast down, there is this one and only remedy, to turn his eyes to the coming of Christ.”  In what way does waiting on Jesus to reward you free you up to serve today (regardless of circumstances)?
  8. Humility is not just something for church leaders, but something that both leaders and members must aspire to.  I made the statement in this message that the best test of humility is shown NOT when you act like a servant, but when you are treated like one.  In what way do you think humility shows forth when you are mistreated or under-appreciated?
  9. What are the main takeaways you had from today’s message?

 

To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.

 

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Born Again Adolescence (True Grace week 9 Devo)

Adolescence.  We have all been through it.  You know, the time when you have lived through nothing but know everything?  The time when you have more pimples than purpose?  The time when you have more recreation than responsibility?  The time when your parents were clueless and your peers were crafty?  Yeah, you know the time.  We all lived through it.  In fact, I think we have all lived through it twice.

Twice?  Are you serious?  What kind of a cruel joke would it be to make someone relive 13-16 again?  I mean seriously . . . there are many moments from those years I wish I could just cover with white out and move on.  Why would anyone want to live through those years again?  When I say we have lived through adolescence twice, I do not mean that we have grown up physically twice . . . but I do mean that as “born again” Christians, we have gone through a second “spiritual adolescence” at some point in our spiritual life.

Spiritual adolescence.  We have all been through it.  You know, the time when you lived through very little spiritually speaking, but know everything?  The time when you have more opinions than wisdom?  The time when those who walked with God for many years have “lost their fire” (in your estimation) while your campus group is the only one who is “doing the Christian life right?”  Yeah, you know the time.  If we are honest and self-aware enough, most of us have gone through a phase of our Christian life where we thought we knew it all.  In 1995 that was me.  Today, 20 years later, I am amazed at what I do not know.  God, the Christian life, and ministry are simply too big to be totally figured out on a weekend retreat.  It takes a moment for someone to become a Christian, but it takes time and experience to go from a spiritual babe to a man or woman of God.

I was thinking about that as I read 1 Peter 5:5.  Peter encourages all young people in these verses to “be submissive to those who are older.”  What is Peter getting at here?  Is he indicating that old people are more righteous than young people?  No, in Christ all are declared righteous and totally forgiven of their sins.  Is he indicating that old people are more valuable?  No, Jesus died for all people . . . no one is more valuable than anyone else.  Peter writes to the early church and encourages its younger members to be submissive to its older members because there is wisdom with age.  This wisdom cannot be learned through reading books alone, it is learned on the pages of real life.  Walking with God while living life creates a depth of character, wisdom, and insight that cannot be microwaved.  Because of this truth, Peter wants young people to submit to those who are further along than them because they have wisdom that young people need.

Like a teenager who learns how wise their parents were (after he turns 26), so “adolescent” believers learn how wise their elders are after they have weathered a few storms of their own.

I am writing this letter today as someone who sits squarely between two worlds.  Around many in the church, I am the young guy . . . a nearly 42 year old dude who has yet to figure a lot of stuff out.  Around youth and college students (much to my chagrin) I am becoming one of the old guys . . . having lived through enough decades to have a different perspective than just a twitter account and a facebook page.  Being in this place gives me reason to apply this passage in two directions.  If you are a “young person” be careful to not fall into the trap that “you are the only one doing it right.”  Clothe yourself with humility and listen to the perspective of those further along than you.  If you are an “elder,” live a life that is worthy of respect.  Don’t just place your life in cruise control and coast into apathy.  Continue to walk with God and trust Him on a daily basis.  Be willing to share your life experience with younger men and women so that they can learn from the wisdom God has taught you over years of living.

Let’s all age well in the Lord together.  After all adolescence is hard to go through . . . both times.

Join us this Sunday at 9:30 or 10:50 at Wildwood Community Church were I will be preaching on 1 Peter 5:1-5.

To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.

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1 Peter 5:5 Questions (True Grace Study)

  1. Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
  2. Read 1 Peter 5:5
  3. STUDY NOTE:  While not all “Elders” were necessarily older than the other members of the congregation, often-times they were . . . and always they were mature in their faith.  Therefore, it is very appropriate for Peter to refer to the congregation as “you who are younger” in contrast with the Elders.
  4. What does it look like for members of a congregation to “subject themselves to the elders” (5:5)?
  5. Do you notice a consistency of behavior of the Christian to authorities (see 1 Peter 2-5)?  What does this tell you about the effect a mature Christian should have on the groups they belong to and the society they live in?
  6. Peter calls on the Christians to “clothe themselves with humility toward one another.”  Literally, this has the idea of “having others see your humility as you live your life,” just like someone sees the clothes that you wear.  Would those around you consider your general attitude one of humility?  If not, what are some things that need to change as you “clothe yourself in humility”?
  7. Though this week’s verses (5:1-5) talked primarily about Christian leadership, the idea is that the values that the leaders modeled would be a part of EVERY mature Christian’s life.  What primary applications stood out to you from this passage this week?

To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.

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1 Peter 5:3-4 Questions (True Grace Study)

1.   As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

2.   Read 1 Peter 5:3-4

3.   Peter continues his charge to church leaders by exhorting them to “be an example to the flock” instead of “domineering over them.”  Have you ever been in a situation where you have been led by someone who modeled the behavior you were called to live out?  Have you ever been in a situation where you were led by a person who was “domineering over” you?  How did these different types of leadership effect you?

4.  If you lead anything (small group, ministry setting, workplace, family, club, etc.), how can you “be an example” instead of simply demanding people do certain things?  What are the key things to model for your group in the settings where you lead?

5.   STUDY NOTE:  Leaders in the church are never the “Chief Shepherd.”  There is one leader of the church, and it is not your human pastor . . . it is Jesus Christ.  Each church has other human leaders, but these Elders/Pastors merely help care for Jesus’ flock in a particular setting.  Peter writes to encourage these “under shepherds” that faithful service (as described in 5:1-3) will be rewarded one day when Jesus appears at His second  coming.  While congregations can be (and should be) affirming to their pastors, a pastors chief reward will come from Jesus Himself in the future, not in earthly benefits today.

6.   Peter talks about a “crown of glory” which will come to faithful Elders at the return of Christ.  This is not the only “crown” which God speaks of for the Christian in the New Testament.  Most scholars do not see these as material crowns, but as symbolic.  In other words, 1 Peter 5:4 promises that glory will adorn the faithful Elder like a crown adorns a king.  This is much better than a physical crown that can tarnish or be lost.  Below, look up the passages listed there and write down some observations about the other spiritual crowns discussed for Christians:

  • 1 Corinthians 9:25
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:19
  • 2 Timothy 4:8
  • James 1:12, Revelation 2:10
  • 1 Peter 5:4

7.   How do these “crowns” promised by God in Scripture serve as motivations for you in your Christian life?

 

To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.

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1 Peter 5:1-2 Questions (True Grace Study)

1.   As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

2.   Read 1 Peter 5:1-2

3.   Peter begins the conclusion to his letter with some personal comments.  In 5:1-4, he turns his focus to the leadership of the church.  The grace that God gives to followers of Jesus living in this hostile world INCLUDES servant-leaders leading His church well.  Peter wanted to remind the leaders of the church what their leadership should look like.  Peter begins this exhortation to church leaders by addressing them as a “fellow elder.”  What strikes you about how Peter relates to other leaders in the church?

4.   Peter here calls the leaders “Elders.”  This is a common title for the leaders of local churches in the New Testament.  Paul instructed Titus to appoint Elders in each city in Crete (Titus 1:5).  The church in Ephesus was led by a group of Elders (Acts 20:17ff).  Qualifications for Elders (called “overseers” in 1 Timothy) are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.  From what you see in 1 Peter 5, Titus 1, 1 Timothy 3, and Acts 20, what is the job of an “Elder” in a local church?

5.   As was seen above in question 4, those serving in the role of Elder were called different things.  Sometimes “Elder,” sometimes “overseer,” and sometimes “Pastor” or “Shepherd.”  In the churches you have been a part of, what have the leaders been called?  (NOTE:  The diversity of titles used for elder/overseer/pastor should prevent us from judging churches based on the names they call their leaders.)

6.   Notice that the plural form, “Elders,” is used here and in other parts of the New Testament.  What is the benefit of a multiplicity of leaders (as opposed to one dominant leader)?

7.   STUDY NOTE:  Peter also says in 5:1 that he is a “witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker of the glory that is going to be revealed.”  Part of what leaders in the church have in common is a current experience (being persecuted in Jesus’ name) and future promise (sharing in glory when Jesus returns).  Certainly Peter saw Jesus suffer, but suffering in Jesus name continued as the church experienced persecution.  Peter was well acquainted with this, and he reminded all fellow Elders that He was in the fight with them, and awaited the same future glory as they did.  Peter did not think he would receive an extra special place at the “pearly gates.”  He knew that in Christ, all Christians would share in the same glory when Jesus returned.

8.   In 5:2, the Elders are charged with “shepherding” or “pastoring” the “flock of God that is among you.”  What stands out to you about this charge?  Specifically:

  • In what way is a “shepherd” a good model for a church leader?
  • Notice that the “flock” (the people) are not described as the possession of the church leader, but as connected to God.  Why is this important (in your opinion)?
  • The flock was “among” them.  What does this mean about nature of church leadership?

9.  Leaders are to provide oversight willingly, not under compulsion (5:2).  What do you think this means?

10. Leaders are to provide oversight “eagerly,” not for “selfish gain (5:2).  What do you think this means?

 

To access the entire “True Grace” Study, click here.

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True Grace (part 8) Sermon Audio/Video

On Sunday, July 26, 2015 I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based on 1 Peter 4:12-19.  This message was part 8 in the “True Grace” series.  The audio and video from this message are included below.

 

To download this message to listen to later, click on the link below:

True Grace #8

 

To listen to the message online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the video of this sermon, use the Vimeo video below:

 

 

 

To access the entire “True Grace” Study, click here.

 

TG 8.001

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True Grace (part 8) Sermon Discussion Questions

On July 26, 2015 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based out of 1 Peter 4:12-19.  This message was part 8 in the “True Grace” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection and group discussion.

 

Questions:

  1. Read 1 Peter 4:12-19
  2. Have you ever experienced any persecution for your faith in Christ?
  3. Why should Christians “not be surprised” when persecution comes their way according to this passage?
  4. What would it look like to rejoice while experiencing persecution?  What kind of a perspective would you have to have to be able to praise God in the midst of such a trial?
  5. How does the fate of those who do not know Christ motivate you to endure the temporary trials of life today?
  6. Have you “pre-decided” to follow Christ no matter what?  Why or why not?
  7. In what way is God the best “bank” in which to entrust our souls (4:19)?
  8. What is causing you to be anxious today?  How can you draw encouragement from entrusting your soul to your “Faithful Creator” today?
  9. What stood out to you most from today’s message?  Any applications you walk away with?

 

To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.

 

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Showing Your Colors (True Grace week 8 Devotional)

Located about five minutes southeast of downtown Dallas stands a large plastic man.  Big Tex is his name.  Every fall he welcomes hundreds of thousands of people to the Texas State Fair.  The State Fair attracts a diverse audience:  moms and daughters, boyfriends and girlfriends, high schoolers and those who are just plain high, and everyone in between.  On one Saturday each year in early October, however, Big Tex says “Howdy” to a whole different breed.  In College Football’s equivalent of the Hatfields and McCoys, the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns square off in the shadow of Big Tex on the hallowed grounds of the Cotton Bowl.

Four times in my life, I have been lucky enough to attend this game, and it is an experience that I will never forget.  Each time I have gone to the game, I have been amazed at the contrast of colors.  The Cotton Bowl seats more than 90,000 people.  In a unique twist, exactly 45,000 of these people are wearing Sooner Crimson, and the other 45,000 are wearing Bevo Burnt Orange.  These obvious colors make it easy for all to identify your allegiance as you wander through the State Fair eating corn dogs and waiting for the start of the game.

As an OU graduate, I (of course) have cheered for the Sooners each time I attended the game.  In my four trips to the Cotton Bowl, I have truly seen it all both on and off the field.  On the field, the Sooners are 1-2-1 (one win, two losses, and one tie) when I have seen the game live.  Off the field, I have celebrated the win with those garbed in red, and been ridiculed by those in orange after a Sooner defeat.  In both cases, my affiliation with the Sooners was the reason for my celebration or suffering.

I was thinking about this experience today as I read 1 Peter 4:12-19.  These verses conclude a lengthy section of 1 Peter dealing with the suffering a Christian undergoes because of their faith in Christ.  As he wraps up this section, in 1 Peter 4:12, Peter wants all believers to not think that “something strange” was happening to them if they were experiencing persecution for their faith.  Peter writes to let them know that persecution for the Christian was to be expected.  As they lived out their spiritual lives in a hostile world wearing the colors of Christ, they should expect some suffering.

In 4:13-16 Peter says this, “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. . . if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”  In these verses, Peter is reminding Christians that they wear on their bodies the colors of Christ.  Everyone who passes around them knows that they are followers of Jesus.  Because of that, they will share in the fate of Christ.  In this life, Jesus was booed and beaten, mocked and marked, chided and crucified.  If that is how the world treated Christ, then it should come as no surprise when the world treats you in this way.  Because of my OU sweatshirt at the OU/Texas game, I was mocked by Texas fans.  Because of my faith in Christ, I may be mocked by those who do not know Christ.  In both cases they are not really rejecting me as much as they are rejecting the One whose Name I bear.

In the midst of this sobering declaration, however, Peter invites Christians to rejoice.  Why would Christians rejoice at the notion that they will be persecuted?  The reason is simple.  Just as my OU shirt brought me ridicule in defeat, so my OU shirt brought me celebration in victory.  In a similar way, our affiliation with Christ may cause us to be beaten down in the present, but that same affiliation with Christ will allow us to be with Him in His exaltation in the future. Because we are robed in His colors we get to celebrate His victory!  That is reason to rejoice.

So the next time you experience difficulty because of your faith in Christ.  Remember you are wearing His colors.  Our affiliation with Him is the reason for our temporary suffering and our eternal celebration.

 

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, join us in either our 9:30 or 10:50 worship service as I will be preaching on this section of God’s Word.

 

To access the entire “True Grace” study of 1 Peter, click here.